North Allegheny holds line on taxes
The North Allegheny School District is nixing plans to increase its tax rate to help close a multimillion-dollar deficit in the 2014-15 budget.
Of the three proposed final budget options presented to the school board this month, administrators recommended one that would have increased the millage rate by 0.7333 mills to 18.1372 mills to generate an extra $3.8 million in revenue.
Instead, the school board voted, 6-3, last week to approve a proposed final budget of $139.4 million that would maintain the current tax rate, 17.4039 mills. The board cut $3.8 million for facilities projects and $2.7 million for technology projects from the proposed spending plan.
School board members Libby Blackburn, Tara Fisher, Chris Jacobs, Kevin Mahler, Ralph Pagone and Scott Russell voted in favor of the prevailing plan. Joseph Greenberg, Maureen Grosheider and Thomas Schwartzmier voted against it.
In February, North Allegheny said it would ask the state Department of Education for approval to raise its tax rate beyond its 2.1 percent limit to as high as 19.0685 mills to close a projected $7.3 million deficit in the preliminary budget. The state approved a maximum rate of 18.1372 mills in March.
In addition to the spending cuts, the district's financial picture also changed due to changes in revenue and cost projections during the past few months, district spokeswoman Joy Ed said.
In addition to deciding against a tax hike, the school board decided to seek a bond issuance to pay for more than $30 million in renovations needed at Bradford Woods and Marshall elementary schools and Marshall Middle School over several years, said Fisher, the board's vice president.
“It would cover renovations and that is going to free up our budget with respect to capital funding projects that are going toward those buildings over the next few years,” she said.
Planned work at the elementary schools in 2014-15 includes replacing the rubber roofs, drains, fire alarms and public address systems, according to school district facilities reports.
Marshall Middle School needs similar work in 2014-15, as well as replacement of the gym parking lot and stair tower doors and windows, the report said.
The board will vote on a final budget on June 25.
Also, last week, the school board voted 6-3 to approve an elementary class policy that maintains existing class size guidelines — 25 students per kindergarten to second-grade class and 30 students per third- to fifth-grade class.
But the new policy also divides grades into smaller class sizes at the start of the school year, to allow room for new students and reduce unused space later, the district said. Now, kindergarten through second-grades will be divided into classes of no more than 24 students for the year's start, third-grade will start with 27 students in each class and fourth- and fifth-grades will start with 29 students per class.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mt. Lebanon history center project gets OK
- Teens elevate Western Pa. communities with Eagle Scout projects
- eReader books also available to borrow at local libraries
- Museum’s ‘Carnegie Trees’ exhibit shows ‘Winter Wonders’
- 50 years later, Vietnam vet gets his degree at Westminster
- Decorated World War II veteran gets visit, gift from ex-Steeler
- More fear ‘tackle’ football too risky for kids
- Mt. Lebanon deer culling effort gets OK